Darren Ellis

Dr Darren Ellis

Senior Lecturer

Cluster Lead, Social and Community Work

, School of Education and Communities

Darren is interested in emotion and affect studies, everyday experiences of surveillance, social media and emotional disclosure.


  • PhD
  • CPsychol
  • FHEA

Areas Of Interest

Science Fiction, Philosophy, Music, Art and Travel

On This Page


Darren obtained his PhD in Psychology in 2007 at Loughborough University. Before working for UEL he lectured at Coventry University and then Nottingham University. He is now programme leader of Psychosocial Studies and Psychosocial Theory and Practice. Darren has extensively researched emotion and affect in a variety of contexts. He co-authored the Sage book Social Psychology of emotion. Darren is a member of the British Psychological Society as a charted Psychologist (CPsychol). He is a fellow of HEA (FHEA).



Research on Emotion, Surveillance and Digital Life
My research has broadly focused on three related areas: emotional disclosure processes, digital life and emotion, surveillance studies and affect.  
Emotional Disclosure Processes
After obtaining first-class honours I won a PhD scholarship for Loughborough University, where I used a mixed-methods approach (measuring psychophysiology and discourse analysis) to investigate emotional disclosure processes. Research in this area led to the writing of the emotions module ad my first book for Sage Publications: Social Psychology of Emotion.  
Surveillance Studies and Emotion
Professors David Harper, Ian Tucker and myself obtained some funding to develop a project on Everyday Experiences of Surveillance which resulted in multiple outputs. For example, I led on two research articles from this project, one on trust (Ellis et al., 2013b) which was nominated for the 2014 SAGE Prize for Innovation and/or Excellence; the other was on affective atmospheres (Ellis et al., 2013a). This project led to a significant amount of public engagement for example, it featured on the front cover of the Psychologist (Ellis et al., 2016). More recently I wrote an article for Science as Culture on surveillance apatheia (Ellis, 2019).
Emotion and Digital Life
I was invited by Routledge Studies in Science, Technology and Society to write a book on Emotion in the Digital Age (Ellis and Tucker, 2020). This stemmed from research that I had conducted in surveillance and emotion but more recently on Social Media and Affect. For example, Tony Sampson and myself have organised multidisciplinary annual conferences at UEL on Social Media and Affect. We selected material from these for an edited book (Sampson, Maddison, and Ellis, 2018).



  • Ellis, D. (2019). Surveillance Apatheia and the Technosecuritisation of Everyday Life.Science as Culture, 29(1), 11-29 .  In Print.
  • Sampson, T., Ellis, D., and Maddison, S. (Published July 2018). Affect and Social Media. Rowman and Littlefield's Radical Cultural Studies
  • Ellis, D. (Published July 2018). Social Media and Process. In Affect and Social Media. Rowman and Littlefield'S Radical Cultural Studies.
  • Ellis, D., Harper, D. & Tucker I. (2016) Experiencing the Surveillance Society. The Psychologist, 29, 9.
  • Ellis, D., and Tucker, I. (2015). Social Psychology of Emotion. Sage Publications.
  • Harper, D., Ellis, D. & Tucker, I. M. (2014) Surveillance. Encyclopaedia of Critical Psychology. New York: Springer. (pp. 1887-1892)
  • Ellis, D., Tucker, I., & Harper, D. (2013). The Affective Atmospheres of SurveillanceTheory and Psychology, 22 (6), 771-785.
  • Ellis, D., Harper. D., & Tucker. I. (2013). The Dynamics of Impersonal Trust and Distrust in Surveillance SystemsSociological Research Online, 18 (3) 8.
  • Harper, D., Tucker, I., & Ellis, D. (2013). Surveillance and Subjectivity: Everyday experiences of surveillance practices. In K.S. Ball and L. Snider (Eds.). The Surveillance-Industrial Complex: A political economy of surveillance. Routledge.
  • Tucker, I., Ellis, D., & Harper, D. (2012). Transformative Processes of Agency: Information Technologies and the Production of Digitally Mediated SelvesCulture and Society: Journal of Social Research, (3), 1, 9-24
  • Ellis, D. & Cromby, J. (2012). Emotional inhibition: A discourse analysis of disclosurePsychology and Health, (5), 27, 315-532.
  • Ellis, D. & Tucker, I. (2011). Virtuality and Ernst Bloch: Hope and SubjectivityJournal of Subjectivity,(4), 434–450.
  • Ellis, D. & Cromby, J. (2009). Inhibition and reappraisal with emotional disclosureCounselling Psychology Quarterly, 22: 3, 319-333.


ESRC Bid - In preparation for submission

Empathy Offline and Online in Post-Brexit Britain: New Perspectives from Psychosocial Group Analysis


Against the current backdrop of social, cultural and political division in the UK and elsewhere, new research into the study of empathy and its communication in groups is timely. The project team will use the academic and practice-based expertise of its members to develop a new psychosocial method influenced by the principles of Group Analysis to examine when and how the communication of empathy may arise in face to face and online group contexts. Using the outcome of the UK EU Referendum as a case study, equal amounts of people (groups of 8 people) who either voted to leave or remain in the EU, will discuss their thoughts and feelings about Brexit with each other. The research team will work closely with the Institute of Group Analysis (IGA) as a project partner. The IGA will offer a space where the data and impressions from the group sessions can be discussed by the research team and a Group Analyst. The research team will also work with the Artistic Directors of the award-winning Faction theatre to adapt the group transcripts into film scripts for the creation of two short animated films produced by the National Centre for Computer Animation at Bournemouth University about the experience of empathy in face to face and online groups. These films will be screened online and disseminated to communities and organisations online and via a national programme of theatre screenings and workshops; the films and accompanying workshop material will contribute to an 'Empathy Pack' for dissemination across the UK.


Employer, Research and Feedback Led Teaching and Course Leading

I seek to deliver research-led teaching which meets evolving employer requirements, which is responsive to feedback and leads to increased opportunities for graduates. This entails leading on pedagogical transformation; pedagogical publications which are international as well as national; and the mentoring of teaching colleagues. Presently, I am course leading three related courses: Psychosocial Theory and Practice, Social and Community Work, and Psychosocial Community Work (about 175 students). 

Employer-Led Teaching

As course leader, I have worked with colleagues to transform its vocational aspirations by embedding a professional development programme that dovetails with UELs Vision 2028 to be Careers Led. I am presently developing the course structure and teaching in line with the Endorsement and Quality Standards Board for Community Development Learning (ESB). This will enable the course to adhere to National Occupational Standards, enhancing graduate opportunities and overall attractiveness. In addition to becoming an FHEA, I was accredited by the British Psychological Society as a chartered member, which was awarded through a portfolio of teaching and research whilst at UEL.

Research-Led Teaching

In 2013 I developed a level 6 module on emotion. The course content led to the publication of my first book Social Psychology of Emotion (Ellis and Tucker, 2015) subsequently the core module textbook. It continues to have high sales, has received excellent reviews, is internationally published, and included on courses throughout the world. Throughout the beginning of the pandemic and the first lockdown, I devised a rapid response summer programme entitled The Monday Afternoon Lockdown Sessions. These sessions have now been adapted into a book entitled After Lockdown - Opening Up (Voela and Ellis, forthcoming 2021), dedicated to our students. I am also focused upon ensuring students are future proofed for the job market by bringing together research-led teaching aligned to emerging careers in Industry 4.0. For example, last summer I had a book published entitled Emotion in the Digital Age (Ellis and Tucker, 2020). This book has chapters concerned with artificial intelligence, social media, digital mental-health, and surveillance; areas all vital to course content.

Feedback-Led Teaching

Through a reflective practice, progression and retention have significantly increased since being course leader. ). Throughout the fourteen years of working at UEL in the capacity of a lecturer/senior lecturer, I have never received anything less than a 'definitely agree' score from the student module evaluation - questionnaires overall satisfaction. I regulate the programme in relation to feedback. For example, in response to external examiner and student feedback.    


I am the module leader for the following modules:

  • PS4002 Psychosocial Perspectives of Psychology
  • PS6016 Emotion Studies
  • PS6020 Cybercultures and Life Online
  • PS7005 Psychosocial Research Methods